Teaching Observations

Looking for constructive feedback on your teaching?  Interested in improving student learning?  Then request a free and confidential Teaching Observation.  The collaborative discussion and constructive, cross-disciplinary feedback that are an integral part of every Teaching Observation provide invaluable opportunities for reflection and improvement.   

During a Teaching Observation, two of the Sheridan Center’s trained Teaching Consultants observe and videorecord your class.  One Teaching Consultant will be from the humanities and social sciences, and one will be from the life and physical sciences; neither one will be from your department or program.  After your Teaching Observation, you will have an opportunity to view the video and then later meet with the Teaching Consultants to discuss their feedback on your teaching and their observations of your classroom learning environment, as well as your reflections on the class session.

Teaching Observation Procedures

  1.  Request an Observation
    To arrange a Teaching Observation, fill out an online request form at least two weeks prior to the date when you would like to be observed.  This form asks you to describe the context of your Teaching Observation and your goals for the observation.  It is important that you let the Teaching Consultants know what you wish to accomplish in the session they are to observe, and to specify the aspects of your teaching on which you would like their feedback.  See Teaching Observation Goals and Contexts for ideas about how to do this.
    Please note that Consultants are able to remain for only one hour of any class session. 
    The Sheridan Center will notify you via email once your Teaching Observation has been successfully scheduled.  This typically occurs within several work days after an online request has been submitted. 

  2. The Observation 
    Two Teaching Consultants observe the session and record it on a video camera (consultats will remain for up to one hour).  Please advise your students in advance that the class will be observed for your benefit, not for evaluating student performance.  You will have the option to choose the format of the recording (mini-DVD or MP4 file) on the Teaching Observation request form.  After the observation, the consultants will either provide you with a mini-DVD or send you an email with a Brown University Digital DropBox link to your MP4 file.  Please download the video as soon as possible (if you are sent a link) and view the video before you meet with the teaching consultants.

  3. The Follow-Up Meeting 
    You will meet with the Teaching Consultants within two weeks of the observation to discuss their observations and recommendations (which will be included in the Teaching Observation Report, described below), as well as your reflections on the class session.

  4. Teaching Observation Report 
    The Teaching Consultants will give you a copy of the Teaching Observation Report.  This report is for your own records and your own use, and will not be sent to your department.  This report is strictly for confidential purposes -it is not intended to be used for job applications, annual reviews or tenure and promotion.

  5. Follow-up Questionnaire
    The Center will send you a feedback form via e-mail to help us assess your experience and gauge our effectiveness.  Please return this form to the Center as soon as possible.  

    NB: Completion of this form is a requirement for all Certificate I Program participants.

Please Note:  Teaching Observations may be conducted during the summer Brown Continuing Education program, if a participant:  1. Inform their students of the Teaching Observation process before it happens.  2. Inform their students of the purpose of the filming (it's really not about them!) and the DVD is given only to the instructor (no one else will see it!).  3. Let their students know, they may sit close to the camera person so that they are not in the film if they are uncomfortable.